Free-Market Green Jobs for $2.63 a Day

I employ the services of a landscape maintenance company (AKA a gardener) to maintain my yard.  The very existence of his business depends on the collection of that $80 from me ($2.63 a day) as well as the 30 or 40 other people whom he provides his services to each month.  This type of service may seem like an unnecessary "luxury" to many but it's a mutually beneficial transaction that forms just one of the small but vital cogs in the wheel of capitalism.

With the downturn (think death-spiral) of the economy in California, my wife and I have had to make many sacrifices in order to keep our own household on a sustainable path.  While brainstorming ways to save money, the idea of letting our gardener go and doing the yard maintenance work ourselves has come up several times.  But we always come back to the idea that we need to resist succumbing to this recession and do our part in helping to keep what's left of this fragile economy alive.  Fortunately for him, and us, we've been able to continue to utilize his services -- for now. 

How many other s-corp "rich" individuals, just like us, are out there who would be unable to maintain a service such as this if more of our money ended up being extracted through higher tax rates?  If our taxes were to increase by even a small amount (like, say, $80 per month), our gardener would unfortunately end up being one of the first casualties (although I might have to reconsider if he started whistling Disney tunes like the Solyndra robots). 

President Obama also said: "This is not class warfare; it is math."  Okay, let's do some simple math.  Let's look at what could have been done with the $535 million in taxpayer dollars that Obama "invested" in just that one Solyndra deal alone.  If you were to take the salary of one gardener who has 45 clients at $80 each per month, his earnings would add up to 3,600 per month, or $43,200 per year.  This means that if the $535 million that was carelessly wasted on the Solyndra deal had been left in the hands of the taxpayers, it theoretically could have been used to pay the annual salary of about 12,384 gardeners.  How does that stack up to the 1,100 who just lost their jobs at the luxurious Solyndra plants that built solar panels for twice the amount that they were able to sell them for? 

It looks more like we're swapping temporary "green jobs" for real "green jobs" and at an exchange rate that is much, much less than desirable.  And that is only the tip of the iceberg when you look into the green energy dealings of the Obama administration.  The administration has just approved another $5 billion (or about 115,740 gardeners for reference) in loan guarantees for these types of programs, including one to an enterprise that Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law is tied to (can you spell c-r-o-n-y?).  And as I write, there is new news that the $500-million green jobs training program came up short on its goals.

Of course, not all of this tax money would end up being used to pay the salaries of gardeners if it were left in the hands of taxpayers.  But stop and think for a moment about all of the other jobs in this nation that are tied to seemingly insignificant sums of money that Obama thinks taxpayers can "afford" to hand over to the government without consequence.  

With an inefficient government bureaucracy, there is no amount of additional tax revenue that will ever be enough to satisfy its tremendous appetite if it is left unrestrained and unaccountable.  This is why, as history has proven time and time again, the use of capital is much more productive when mostly left in the hands of the private sector.

To gain a little more perspective on the enormity of the sums of taxpayer money the Obama administration has been spending, let's do the same calculation as above using the original projected amount of Obama's stimulus package ($787 billion).  According to the "math," we could pay about 18,217,592 gardeners for one full year with that "stimulus" money.

Talk about a real "green jobs" program -- there wouldn't be one single square inch of land left in the United States that wasn't fully lush and green.

Scott blogs at